Saturday, February 9, 2013

Beta Israel; fascinating museum exhibit

I found this post for an exhibit at Oglethorpe University museum of art. Sounds fascinating! This is the people group that my main characters belong too. You may click on the link, or I've posted the info here. Enjoy!

Oglethorpe museum

Here is the article... "BETA ISRAEL: ETHIOPIAN JEWS AND THE PROMISED LAND January 27 through April 21, 2013 (ATLANTA, GA) – Oglethorpe University will host “Beta Israel: Ethiopian Jews and the Promised Land,” an exhibition that explores the mass migration of Ethiopian Jews into modern Israeli society and the integration difficulties they faced. The exhibition will feature 100 photographs by South African photojournalist Ilan Ossendryver and will run Sunday, January 27 through April 21, 2013.

Over the past 30 years, nearly 100,000 Jews have migrated from Ethiopia to settle in Israel. In the 1970s, there were approximately 100 Ethiopian Jews living in Israel and today there are more than 130,000.As many as 5,000 from this community perished during the early years of this exodus when they were forced to escape on foot and wait for months in disease-prone refugee camps.Other made the journey with assistance during several covert airlift operations including the 1991 airlift Operation Solomon during which 14,000 Ethiopian Jews made the journey or “aliyah,” a purposeful ascent or going up to the promised land of Israel during a 36 hour period.

This exhibition explores the mass migration and the incredible challenge of integration in modern Israeli society faced by the Ethiopian Jews, once known as Falasha but more properly called “Beta Israel,” or “House of Israel.” Most were practicing a pre-rabbinic, ancient form of Judaism in which they had no awareness of the Talmud’s existence and so knew nothing of post-biblical holidays such as Hanukkah and Purim.They lived for centuries in isolation in a Third World country and were suddenly thrust into modern life in Israel.

South African photojournalist Ilan Ossendryver lived in Israel for 20 years and covered many the major events in Israel. In 1984 and again in 1991 he covered the airlifts of Ethiopian Jewry to Israel. Meanwhile, Len Lyons, a writer from Boston who had been hosting Ethiopian Israelis in his home, became fascinated with the story of their escape and their struggle for acceptance in the country that rescued them. In 2007 many of Ossendryver’s photographs of this immigration were published in The Ethiopian Jews of Israel: Personal Stories of Life in the Promised Land, a book by Lyons exploring the resettlement. In June 2011 Lyons and Ossendryver returned to Ethiopia to photograph some of 7,000 Jews remaining in the region of Lake Tana, Gondar and Addis Ababa.This exhibit also contains the stunning and deeply moving photographs taken by Ossendryver of the Jews left in Ethiopia, many of whom still struggle to be accepted for immigration by the Israeli government. The following lecture series will be hosted at the museum, in conjunction with the exhibition: Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 7:00 p.m. | Lecture by artist Ilan Ossendryver Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 7:00 p.m. | Lecture by author Len Lyons Additional lectures to be announced"

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